FROM THE POINSETT COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [56CR-16-186]
HONORABLE DANIEL RITCHEY, JUDGE
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Brooke Jackson Gasaway,
Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellant.
Dunlap, for appellee.
F. WYNNE, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE.
State of Arkansas has filed this interlocutory appeal from
the Poinsett County Circuit Court's order granting
appellee Stoney McWilliams's motion to suppress. On
appeal, the State argues that (1) the circuit court erred as
a matter of law by interpreting Rule 2.2 of the Arkansas
Rules of Criminal Procedure to invalidate the encounter
between McWilliams and the arresting officer and (2) the
circuit court erred in concluding that the officer's
actions constituted a seizure. Because this is not a proper
State appeal under Ark. R. App. P.-Crim. 3 (2016), we dismiss
pertinent facts are as follows. On the afternoon of December
19, 2015, Stoney McWilliams and his girlfriend were walking
along the shoulder next to Highway 63B in Marked Tree. They
were carrying bags filled with groceries. Police officer
Kevin Holt testified that when he drove past McWilliams,
"[McWilliams] kind of shielded his face from me and it
kind of arose my suspicion. I thought maybe, possibly, he had
a warrant or something and didn't want me to see his
face." Officer Holt turned his patrol car around, pulled
up behind McWilliams with his rear lights flashing, and got
out of the vehicle. He instructed McWilliams to stop, and
McWilliams complied. Officer Holt asked McWilliams his name,
McWilliams answered, and Officer Holt then asked for
identification. At that point, McWilliams ran.
considering Officer Holt's testimony at a hearing on
McWilliams's motion to suppress, the circuit court
granted the motion as follows:
1. After the State rested, the Defendant's [attorney]
orally moved for a Motion for Directed Verdict. The court
finds that the State has not met its burden with respect to
the Defendant's Motion to Suppress.
2. The Court finds that Ark. Rule of Cr. Proc. 2.2 is not
applicable because the Market Tree Police officer was not
investigating a criminal offense or criminal activity known
to him to exist.
3. The Court finds that the Marked Tree Police officer did
not have reasonable suspicion to stop the Defendant.
4. The Court finds that under Ark. Rule of Cr. Proc.
[3.1] that justification for investigatory stops
must be based on specific, particular and articulable reasons
and must be something more than conjectural suspicion. The
Marked Tree Police officer believed that when the Defendant
looked away, he was trying to hide his identity because he
might have a warrant. The Court finds that the officer's
belief is conjectural in nature.
5. All of the issues in Ark. Code Ann. § 16-81-203, with
the exception of the Defendant possibly averting his face,
did not come into play here. The one issue about the demeanor
of the suspect would just merely be by the gesture of him
possibly looking away.
6. Considering the totality of the circumstances, the Court
finds that there was no reasonable suspicion.
7. The Court finds that the act of turning across traffic to
come up behind individuals in a police unit, with lights
activated from the rear, getting out of his car and ordering